Had I given my father a Bindle, were it available then, he may not have put it in his chest of drawers along with a number of shirts, ties and socks which were never to be liberated from their packaging. He was a humble man not prone to flamboyant expression, although he did wear his hat on a jaunty angle.
Much has been written and sung of the regrets we have for not taking the time to notice our parents or ask them their stories. They just WERE, as unassailable as the pyramids and expected to remain so. When they depart their mortal coil it is viewed with wonderment, as if their responsibility was to be there for their children forever and ever amen.
Like so many father’s of old, Dad was the provider. That meant I had an education and opportunities that he had been denied because of war and the Depression, and my mother could attend to the house and hairstyles.
In Dad’s latter years, once he had stopped “providing” for his family, he took to planting trees on the spare block next door. Once he had done that, he whiled away the hours moving boulders around the same block. I wondered at the reasoning behind this futile exercise as he slumped exhausted against one of them. It was obvious he needed to prove something to himself – that he still had the strength to make a difference in the only way available to him. I suspect he was also hiding from my mother, and when he was summoned he quaintly responded with “hello”.
I think of him often, and I have a box full of the letters he wrote when I lived away. One day I will have the strength to re-visit them, although I know it will be a bitter-sweet exercise.
It’s Father’s Day on Sunday September 6. It would be a lovely gesture to buy your Dad a Bindle, but importantly, ask him about his life. If he chooses to reply I bet you won’t have known half of it.